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This 13-year-old came up with a brilliant way to stop people from driving drunk or high


Drunk-driving crashes killed more than 10,000 people in the US in 2013 — about 30 people every day. Krishna Reddy wants to change that.

The 13-year-old from Wichita Falls, Texas, invented a device that can tell when a driver has consumed alcohol or used other drugs based on how dilated his or her pupils are.

Reddy is one of 10 finalists in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, an annual competition for the title of America's Top Young Scientist and a $25,000 prize. The finals will take place on October 12 and 13.

Reinventing the breathalyzer

Breathalyzers, which measure the alcohol content in a breath sample, can detect when someone has had a drink, but not if they've had other drugs. And they require the driver's consent to work (as opposed to being automatic).

Reddy wanted to create something better.

Our pupils constrict to filter the amount of light that gets into our eyes. When we look into a bright light, our pupils get smaller; when it becomes dark, our pupils dilate, or get bigger. This is known as the pupillary reflex. While certain drugs, like alcohol and opioids, can cause our pupils to constrict, others, like LSD, magic mushrooms, and cocaine, can cause them to dilate.

Taking advantage of this effect, Reddy built a device made of three things: A digital camera, a snakehead flashlight, and a toilet-paper roll.

It works like this: The flashlight is held up to the eye, and the toilet roll directs the light onto the pupil. Then, the digital camera takes video of the pupil as it contracts. Using a software program Reddy wrote, the device (and a computer) measures the constriction of the pupil when the light is shone on it.

So far, it can be used to tell if someone has been drinking, smoking marijuana, or if they've used certain painkillers, sleep aids, or amphetamines. Because the pupillary reflex happens on the scale of millimeters and milliseconds, the device is far better than the naked eye at detecting a drunk or impaired driver, Reddy explains in a short video about the project.

The hope is that this device could detect when a driver's reflexes are impaired, and ultimately cut down on lethal traffic crashes. At least, until we all have driverless cars, that is.


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Young Families


watch video here: life happens


When you’re starting a family you face perhaps the most daunting financial pressures you’ll encounter at any stage of life. Expenses like a new home and young children weigh heavily, and you’re likely still early in your career, far from your peak earning potential. Meanwhile, you need to begin saving for the future: college for the kids, a nest egg for you and your spouse. How can you address all of these obligations at once?


The key is to imagine you’re at the beginning of a long-term building process. Financial security is a combination of insurance protection, and savings and investments that accumulate over time. Start small and cover all your bases. As your career progresses and your income increases, your financial security will grow as well.

Protection First


The first step in establishing your financial security is to confront the biggest threats to it by asking yourself some tough questions: What would happen if you or your spouse or partner became sick, injured or died? All of these situations can be devastating to your family’s financial health. That’s where insurance comes in.

Life insurance can provide your family members the resources to maintain their lifestyle when you die. It can replace some or all of your income, pay off debts, cover funeral costs and can even help fund longer-range needs like college tuition or retirement. Insure your spouse or partner as well, even if he or she doesn’t work outside the home. A stay-at-home parent provides vital household services—childcare, house upkeep and transportation to name a few—that would be expensive to replace. To find out more about life insurance and if you need coverage, use our Interactive Planner.

Disability insurance is also a must. It will replace a portion of your income if you are unable to work due to a disabling illness or injury. Why is that important? Think about how long you could make ends meet if your paycheck suddenly disappeared. A LIFE Foundation survey found that a majority of workers wouldn’t make it more than a month before serious financial sacrifices would have to be made.

Many larger companies and some smaller ones offer some disability coverage to employees through a group plan. If you need more, it may make sense to buy additional coverage through your employer’s group plan, if available. Buying your own disability insurance policy independently is also option worth considering. Unlike group coverage, privately owned insurance stays with you even when you change jobs. To find out more about disability insurance and if you need coverage, use our Interactive Planner.

Be Sure to Save


Given all the costs a young family faces, the idea of saving may seem impossible. But it’s crucial to get into the habit early, and important to have a source of cash to fall back on in an emergency. Setting aside just $25 a week at a 6% annual return will turn into $31,000 in 15 years. If you have credit card debt, your first priority should be to pay it off. High interest rates on credit card debt can turn into a long-term drag on your family’s financial health.

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